Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Super Mario Bros' Producers Were Intent On Avoiding One Fan-Driven Joke

Nintendo and Illumination are on the same page when it comes to respecting the Mario Bros.

After months of anticipation, "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" has finally yahoo'd its way into cinemas. Produced by Nintendo, the animated flick is an authentic adaption of the video game franchise, which should make it a delight for fans of all ages. Because Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Luigi (voiced by Charlie Day) are such iconic characters who have dominated the cultural conversation for over four decades, it would have been easy for the film's creatives to directly comment on the brother's legacy in a meta way.

Instead, Nintendo and Illumination, the film's animation studio, decided to focus on the core aspects of the characters instead of playing into fan expectations and commentary. In a recent chat with ScreenRant, Illumination boss Chris Meledandri opened up about how his early conversations with franchise producer Shigeru Miyamoto shaped the film and its treatment of its characters. "Mr. Miyamoto pointed out that we should never make fun of Mario and Luigi's occupation," Meldandri revealed. "Even though you could find a joke about it, we're not going to go there. there. We're going to respect their occupation."

The Super Mario Bros. is an authentic adaptation of the franchise

Mario and Luigi are, of course, plumbers from the humble streets of Brooklyn. For years, fans have poked fun at the two character's working-class and menial jobs. In the dozens of games they've appeared in throughout the decades, they're seldom seen using their plumbing skills, making their earthly jobs even more of a question mark. Despite the fact that fans continue to make fun of this aspect of the characters, it's great to hear that Illumination's Meledandri and Nintendo's Miyamoto want to capture the true essence of the Mario Bros, even when it goes against the jokes fans want. 

While Looper was largely mixed on "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," critic Reuben Baron praised the film for being an authentic adaptation that pays attention to fan service. In an interview with Variety, Miyamoto opened up about why it's important to make adaptations feel familiar, in a way that fans can appreciate and acknowledge. "The fans get outraged and mad because the studios didn't do justice to the original work," Miyamoto said. "We really didn't want a backlash." 

Instead of leaning into the negative or cheeky aspects of how fans perceive the franchise, the team behind the film leaned into the positives. It certainly would have been easy to take a jab at Mario and Luigi's profession for a quick joke but it's the reserved nature of Illumination and Nintendo that has made the adaptation so popular amongst fans. From the film's A CinemaScore, it's clear that fans are pleased with the direction Miyamoto and Meledandri have taken it in.